Monday, April 21, 2008

The Machine That Made Us The Printing Press

Stephen Fry, best known (to me anyway) for playing Jeeves in the P.G. Wodehouse adaptation Jeeves and Wooster, recently hosted a BBC4 documentary on the Gutenberg Press entitled The Machine That Made Us. The title refers to the movable-type printing press invented by Johann Gutenberg in the fifteenth century.

In the course of the one-hour documentary, Fry travels through Europe to understand Gutenberg’s story. He also builds a modern replica of the press, which turns out to be a tough job. You can watch the entire documentary online via YouTube (embedded videos below — one hour spread across six ten-minute clips), or if you’re in the UK you can watch via the BBC’s iPlayer.

This documentary is an interesting exploration of Gutenberg and his invention; the story of the printing press is one we don’t often think about, but of course it’s central to the development of modern thought and education. Have a look:

You can read more about Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press at Wikipedia. See also: the Gutenberg Bible.






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